Facing up to our own unpleasant truths

Evidence shows Barbadians have a passion for discussing problems, especially with a focus on apportioning blame. However, when it comes to taking the bull by the horns and wrestling it to the ground, to use a frequently uttered cliche in contemporary domestic political parlance, somehow there often seems to be reluctance for whatever reason.

As a result, we tend as a country to go around in circles and few problems are tackled with the required determination and resolve to come up with effective and lasting solutions. Indeed, many problems confronting the country today are not altogether new. They were discussed before, only to end up being swept under the carpet in some instances, and with the passage of time some have been made worse.

However, occasional flare-ups do serve as a reminder that, though out of sight, the problems remain very much with us and are simply lurking in the background. Why do we seem so afraid as a people to face up to unpleasant truths and take the necessary remedial action? Is it a deep-seated fear of failure? A lack of will, especially at the key decision-making level? A lack of confidence in our own abilities?

We need to come to grips with these realities because the tendency to avoid facing up to unpleasant truths is hampering our continued progress as a country. And the sooner we do so, the better it will be. We can no longer afford to bury our heads in the sand and wishfully hope that a fairy godmother or father will appear from out of the blue, wave a magic wand, shout “Abracadabra!” and our problems will suddenly vanish into thin air.

Miracles of this kind occur only in the realm of fairy tales, but not in the real world. Despite our exposure to external influences which impact on our very way of life, we ultimately are the masters of our destiny through the responses we adopt to these situations. Being small does not mean we are inherently helpless or doomed to fail. Indeed, being small, as the late economist E.F. Schumacher reminded us, has many advantages which, in some cases, are not available to larger, more prosperous and developed countries.

The first critical step towards solving any problem, whether big or small, always involves acknowledging that the problem does exist and that it poses a real or potential threat to interests which are valuable and need to be protected. Recognition of the existence of the problem then paves the way for an examination of options which are available and the eventual selection of the one considered most effective in terms of a response.

National leadership is key in this whole exercise, especially the visionary and inspirational kind. Such leadership can bring out the best in people during trying times. It can mobilize them around a common purpose and convincingly point out a way when there seems to be none. Just as the great Winston Churchill did as prime minister of Great Britain during the dismal days of World War II and the biblical Moses did when he was assigned the task of shepherding Israel through the harshness of the desert to the promised land.

More than ever, our national leadership must rise to the occasion and we are not specifically speaking of those who hold such positions in national politics, though they must set the tone, but leaders from across the social spectrum – in business, the media, labour, religion, education, and civil society. There is need for these various constituencies to come together, weigh the options, agree on a way forward that can be sold to the population, and applied to inform a national strategy for revitalizing the country, not only in terms of the economy, but wholistically.

As agenda setters who wield considerable influence in moulding perceptions and promoting public education on key national issues, the media have an important role to play in the process. However, it will require journalists and media commentators to have a full grasp of the issues.

From interacting with Barbadians, we detect that there is a lot of pessimism in the country that borders, in some instances, on a sense of helplessness. Rather than focus on the negative which is the natural human tendency, it is always best to seek out the positive which exists in every crisis.

In the final analysis, whether we win or lose the battle will be determined by the mindset we adopt. And, drawing on ancient wisdom, we have the assurance that all things are possible if only we believe.

6 Responses to Facing up to our own unpleasant truths

  1. Hal Austin February 8, 2017 at 6:23 am

    What is this editorial all about? And Churchill was great?

    Reply
  2. Tony Webster February 8, 2017 at 6:35 am

    Dear Ed. How might one cap such a thoughtful, insightfull examination of our social core-values? How can we traverse a path along a high cliff, with breathtaking scenery to one side, and a yawning crevasse and Rocky Gully on the other, and yet keep steady our composure, and our feet, and pass over to the safe haven ahead?

    Well, I’ll try. Madam an’ me, are currenly looking after the daily care and up-bringing of a future Prime Minister (!) of this country, named Nasir, who will turn two, come June. To appreciate all these things, and to hold steady and true to the responsibility resting on all loyal Bajans, one only has to look deep into the eyes of Nasir. Our Nasir; your Nasir; and all little Bajan Nasirs. You will then realise how absolutely crucial it is, that in order to bequeath anything worthwhile and sustainable to our children, we must “re-invent Barbados”. We must needs conserve and preserve those things which are sound and good; the fundamental foundations of our society, such as our democracy and our Christian faith, but simultaneoulsly, to similarly have the courage to dismantle, condemn, excise, and cast-out those malign, cancerous , and devilish things which we have allowed to shackle our feet. Yes, to shackle our feet, YET AGAIN. Could there really be, such a thing as a “self-shackling-society”??

    The spot for our future P.M. is ‘filled’. Might you have at home, a youngster who cud do a good job as A.G.? Min. Education? Health? Chief Justice? Just look into YOUR Nasir’s eyes…and prepare to buckle down and bend wunna backs to the task at hand. LET’S RE-INVENT BIM…starting today.

    Reply
  3. Don Keyote February 8, 2017 at 7:09 am

    ” LET’S RE-INVENT BIM…starting today.”

    By doing what exactly, Tony, surgically transplanting pairs of testacles to locations where they do not currently exist? There’s only 15 Barbadians right now who can (legally) do something about the poor leadership we are now suffering, so we need 15 teams of doctors. Any volunteers?

    Reply
  4. Tony Webster February 8, 2017 at 8:35 am

    @Don…provided the recipient ain’t still sleeping, and would sign an I.O.U….I offer to lend one of mine…provided he promises to return it in good working order. Shutes…there we go again…wid promises!

    Reply
  5. L King February 8, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    The editor is right: And low and behold look at the fearful responses his received. Listen scripture says that God hates cowards and I say because they stop God from healing the nation and administering justice.

    Moses was scared but he trusted God and the Israelites were lead out of 400 years slavery.

    Harriet Tubman was born a slave an unmarried woman who delivered hundreds slaves out of slavery – she trusted God.

    The whites who protested against slavery were a minority who faced great opposition – they trusted God and here we are free.

    Barbadians stop being cowards and join with those that aren’t.

    Many nations have had their issues with people that had power over them but they trusted that God will somehow use them to over turn often poor or negative situations.

    Reply
  6. Jennifer February 8, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    GOD HELP US, IGNORANCE IS really NOT BLISS. THIS BRAINWASHING IS TRULY DEEP. Some of my people will truly need to be put down like a sick animal. To not know who hate you, and who is keeping down. and not even know that you are still a slave is diabolical.

    Reply

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